Koo, India's Multilingual Social Media Hope, Shuts Down Amid Funding Challenges

Exploring the rise and fall of Koo, a pioneering multilingual social media platform in India, and the challenges it faced with funding, partnerships, and sustaining non-English language diversity in the digital landscape.
Koo, India's Multilingual Social Media Hope, Shuts Down Amid Funding Challenges

Koo, the social media platform aimed at democratizing expression in local languages, has announced its closure following unsuccessful partnership negotiations with major internet companies, conglomerates, and media houses. Co-founders expressed disappointment as talks faltered due to concerns over managing user-generated content and the unpredictable nature of social media platforms. Despite nearing agreements with some entities, shifts in priorities derailed potential deals.

The decision to discontinue was driven by the high costs of maintaining a social media app's technology services. Koo, launched in 2020, aimed to address language diversity in social media dominated by English-centric platforms like X/Twitter in India. At its peak, Koo boasted 2.1 million daily active users and around 10 million monthly active users, with a significant following among VIPs across various fields.

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Koo, India's Multilingual Social Media Hope, Shuts Down Amid Funding Challenges

Despite initial successes, Koo faced financial challenges exacerbated by a funding slowdown that hindered its growth plans. The platform, which reported a loss of ₹197 crore on minimal operating revenue in the fiscal year 2021-22, struggled to achieve sustainable monetization. Co-founders highlighted the need for patient, long-term capital to compete in the competitive social media landscape, emphasizing the importance of strategic financial planning to support ambitious ventures.

Co-founder Mayank Bidawatka announced the closure in a LinkedIn post, the accomplishments we achieved with Koo are truly remarkable. We are open to sharing our assets with those who envision advancing India's role in social media or exploring opportunities to transform Koo into a digital public good, fostering social interactions in native languages on a global scale. This endeavor involved intricate technology development executed with meticulous care and speed. Creating ambitious, world-class products from India, whether in social media, AI, space, EV, or other cutting-edge domains, demands patient, long-term investment.

It is imperative to strategically safeguard and nurture these ventures, ensuring resilience amid market fluctuations. Our entrepreneurial spirit remains steadfast, and you will undoubtedly see us pursuing new opportunities with the same vigor and commitment.

In closing, we extend our sincere appreciation for your support, well wishes, and affection. The little yellow bird bids its final farewell. The closure marks the end of a four-year journey that saw Koo's highs and lows, leaving behind a legacy of innovation in multilingual social networking. The team expressed gratitude to supporters, including their dedicated workforce, investors, creators, users, and journalists who contributed to Koo's development. They remain hopeful that Koo's assets may find a new purpose under visionary leadership or as a digital public good, fostering social conversations in native languages globally.

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